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Caldasia 36(2):261-268.
Columnea figueroae, una nueva especie de Gesneriaceae del
Parque Nacional Natural Las Orquídeas (Antioquia, Colombia)
Marisol Amaya-Márquez
Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Apartado 7495, Bogotá
D.C., Colombia. [email protected]
A new species of Columnea (Gesneriaceae) recently found in a premontane forest in
the National Natural Park Las Orquídeas (Cordillera Occidental), in the Department
of Antioquia in Colombia, is described and illustrated.
Key words. Columnea, Gesneriaceae, Corolla appendages, Ornithophily, Antioquia,
Flora of Colombia.
Una nueva especie de Columnea (Gesneriaceae) hallada en un bosque premontano en
el Parque Nacional Natural Las Orquídeas (Cordillera Occidental), en el departamento
de Antioquia, en Colombia es descrita e ilustrada.
Palabras clave. Columnea, Gesneriaceae, Apéndices de la corola, Ornitofilia,
Antioquia, Flora de Colombia.
Columnea is a neotropical genus containing
over 205 species (Möller & Clark 2013)
that is presumably exclusively pollinated by
hummingbird species (Morley 1966, 1971;
1973; Wiehler 1983). As a consequence
mutual co-adaptations between these two
groups of organisms have emerged (e.g.
Amaya-Márquez 1996). Traits of Columnea
species associated with ornithophilous
pollination are: 1) larger leaf with extrafloral
marks or red indument that functions as a
secondary and lasting attractant for the birds
(Jones & Rich 1972; Kastinger & Weber
2000; G. Stiles pers. com.); 2) diurnal nectar
production in concentrations between 12-25
% (Amaya-Márquez 1996); 3) tubular corolla
that is basally spurred, often sigmoid, the tube
slightly inflated, straight or dorsally curved,
less often funnelform, and the limb bilabiate
or subactinomorphic, 1 to 7 cm long (values
that match most of the range in hummingbirds’
bill length); 4) corolla tube color orange,
red, or yellow, sometimes with contrasting
nectar guides on the limb; 5) calyx and bracts
may be of the same color as the corolla, in
which case the reproductive structure, as
a whole, contrasts with the foliage; and 6)
in other cases the calyx and the bracts are
colored differently than the corolla, and the
final result in both cases is an increase in the
visual impact. During recent years, along with
discovering new species, new floral traits have
been described. In particular, investigations
on corolla appendages have broadened our
knowledge on the architecture of the flower
of Columnea (Amaya-Márquez et al. 2004;
Clark & Clavijo 2012). In this paper a new
species of Columnea recently found in a
Columnea figueroae, a new species of Gesneriaceae
premontane forest in the National Natural
Park Las Orquídeas (“Cordillera Occidental”)
is described and illustrated. This species
has a corolla limb adorned with four white,
geniculate external appendages.
Columnea figueroae M. Amaya sp. nov.
Figures 1 & 2.
TYPE: Colombia: Antioquia, municipio
Urrao, corregimiento La Encarnación,
vereda Calles, National Natural Park Las
Orquídeas, road between Calles and La
Encarnación after the confluence of Río
Polo and Río Calle, before Río San Pedro,
sitio La Quiebra. 1600–1850 m, Jan 31–
Feb 2, 2011, Pedraza-Peñalosa, P. et al.
2096 (holotype: COL).
Columnea figueroae differs from C.
paraguensis by having a red corolla with
longitudinal white stripes (vs. homogenously
yellow orange); corolla limb bent downward
(vs. corolla limb erect); four white corolla
appendages of different size, geniculate (vs.
four yellow corolla appendages of same size,
not geniculate); nectary one dorsal gland (vs.
two dorsal glands); and 12-13 veins on the
larger leaf in a pair (vs. 9-10 veins).
Suffrutescent vine, 1.5 m tall. Stem
subterete, 0.5 cm in diam., epidermis green,
indument reddish pilose (of 8-12-celled
trichomes); internodes 1-2 cm long. Leaves
opposite, strongly anisophyllous in a pair,
chartaceous; larger leaf in a pair with petioles
0.6-1 cm long, densely reddish-pilose (79-celled trichomes), blade asymmetrical,
narrowly oblanceolate to falcate, 19.0-23.5
X 3.9-5.8 cm, base oblique, shorter side
acute, larger side rounded, apex acuminate,
margin dentate, adaxially green, reddishpilose (6-12-celled trichomes), abaxially
green, reddish-pilose (6-12-celled trichomes)
more dense on the veins, 12-13 veins on the
larger side of the blade; smaller leaf in a
pair sessile, lanceolate, 1.5 X 0.3 cm, base
oblique, apex attenuate, adaxially reddishpilose (6-12-celled trichomes), abaxially
reddish-pilose (6-12-celled trichomes).
Inflorescence fasciculate, up to 5 flowers
and 8 bracts per axil; bracts lanceolate
(basally cuneate), unequal, ranging from
1.1 X 0.1 cm to 3.4 X 0.8 cm, adaxially
glabrous, abaxially reddish-pilose (5-8celled trichomes), margin denticulate.
Flower shortly pedicellate, pedicel 0.30.4 mm with white glands near the calyx.
Calyx apically red, white-pale green at the
base; lobes connate basally by 0.1 cm of
their length, subequal, lanceolate, 1.8-2.5 X
0.2-0.3 cm, adaxially glabrescent, abaxially
reddish-pilose (7-10-celled trichomes),
margin dentate with 2-3 subulate teeth per
side. Corolla red with longitudinal white
lines on the exterior surface of the tube,
corolla tube slightly curved dorsally, 2.83.3 cm long, 0.7 cm wide at the middle,
constricted at the base 0.4 cm, base dorsally
gibbous, gibbosity 0.3 X 0.5 cm, limb
zygomorphic, 0.5 cm wide, lobes bent
inward, unequal, the two dorsal lobes obtuse,
3-5 X 3 mm, the three ventral lobes acute,
1.3-1.5 X 1.3-2.3 mm, margin erose; pilose,
except on longitudinal stripes that are white
and glabrous, inside glabrescent, glandular
in the throat; 4 white external reflexed and
geniculate appendages outside the lobes,
two of the appendages 7-9 mm long, 1
mm wide, pilose (2-5-celled trichomes),
two lateral appendages 4 mm long, 1 mm
wide. Androecium of 4 stamens, filaments
glabrous, basally connate by 0.3 cm of their
length forming a staminal blade; anthers
subquadrate 2.1 X 2.0 mm. Gynoecium
with ovary conical, 4.0 X 2.5 mm, apically
pilose (7-11-celled trichomes), style 2 cm
long, glandular (2-celled trichomes) along its
length; stigma bilobed. Nectary of one dorsal
tridentate gland, 2 X 2 mm. Fruit an ovoid
berry, 1.3 X 1.0 cm. Seeds honey colored,
obliquely striated, 2.0 X 0.5 mm.
Figure 1. Columnea figueroae M. Amaya. A. Habit. B. Bracts of one inflorescence. C. Corolla.
D. Detail of corolla interior showing the distribution of glandular trichomes. E. Androecium.
F. Gynoecium and nectary. G. Detail of the ovary and nectary. H. Detail of the style with
two-celled glandular trichomes. I. Calyx and fruit. J. Seed.
Columnea figueroae, a new species of Gesneriaceae
Figure 2. Columnea figueroae M. Amaya. Dorsiventral shoot in reproductive stage. The
inflorescences are congested with eight colored bracts and five flowers per inflorescence but
only one flower matures at a time. The external white and geniculate corolla appendages,
and the vertical white lines along the corolla tube, differentiate the corolla from the rest of
reproductive structures (Photo: Julio Betancur).
Etymology. The species is named for my
husband, Jorge Luis Figueroa, to whom
this species is dedicated as an expression
of love and admiration for him, and also in
acknowledgment of his great value as a person
who is kind, compassionate, responsible, very
intelligent, and who seeks to help those around
him as much as is possible. He has given me
invaluable support through the entirety of
my career.
Phenology: Flowers and fruits have been
recorded on the holotype specimen collected
between January and February of 2011.
Distribution: A rare species collected in
a premontane wet forest in the Cordillera
Occidental of Colombia in the department of
Antioquia at an elevation between1600-1850
m. The species can be considered vulnerable
because it is known from only one locality in
a relic of a premontane forest surrounded by
disturbed vegetation. The relic is probably
in good shape because it is found on steep
terrain of difficult access. The species has
not been collected before despite the fact that
several botanists have visited the region over
many years. According to the IUCN these two
criteria will place the species in the category of
endangered, however in this paper the species
is considered in the category of vulnerable
due to two factors: (1) around the area where
the species was collected the natural habitat
was disturbed, but the locality is found
within the limits of a National Natural Park,
therefore there is hope that the deforestation
does not advance; (2) due to the fact that the
vegetative shoot of the species looks similar
to the specimens of the complex of species
C.sanguinea/C.purpurata, it might happen
that the species is not rare, but that it has been
collected before in a sterile phase, and the
specimens might be misplaced in the herbaria.
If the last were the case then the population
of C. figueroa might be in good shape in
other well conserved places of the National
Natural Park “Las Orquídeas”. Thus, further
investigation on the status of this species is
Representative specimens: COLOMBIA: The
species is known only from the holotype.
Distinctive characters
Columnea figueroae has a dorsiventral shoot,
the leaves are chartaceous, adaxially green and
abaxially pale green with a reddish indument
throughout the blade. The red bracts from
different leaf axils overlap forming a structure
that contrast with the rest of the plant. The
corolla is red with white longitudinal stripes,
tubular with the limb bent downward, and it
has 4 white geniculate appendages (Figure
The four external appendages in the corolla
of C. figueroae are similar to those found in
some species of section Ortholoma Benth.
However, C. figueroae and C. paraguensis
– a recently described species (AmayaMárquez & Smith 2012) – are unique within
the genus Columnea by having a mix of
traits typical of section Ortholoma (i.e.,
external corolla appendages) and of section
Collandra (Lem.) Benth. (i.e., vegetative
dorsiventral shoots with short internodes). In
the description of C. paraguensis the species
was considered unique within the genus due
to this combination of traits. In fact, a sterile
specimen of C. paraguensis can be confused
with a specimen of C. fuscihirta (sect.
Collandra). The same situation occurs with C.
figueroae where the vegetative shoots without
flowers can be confused with specimens of the
Columnea sanguinea/Columnea purpurata
complex. However, C. figueroae when seen
with flowers is a unique species, distinct from
any other species of Columnea known so far;
the four external appendages, homogenously
white, long, and geniculate give the corolla an
impressive visual impact (Figure 2).
Columnea figueroae, a new species of Gesneriaceae
Figure 3. Columnea coronata M. Amaya, L.E. Skog & L. P. Kvist. A. Detail of a laminar
(petaloid) external appendage (Photo: Marisol Amaya Márquez). B. Insertion of the laminar
appendage outside the corolla, in a position under the corolla limb and located between two
corolla lobes (Photo: Marisol Amaya Márquez). C. Lateral view of a flower showing the external
corolla appendages (Photo: Oscar Humberto Marín Gómez). D. Corolla limb zygomorphic,
the corolla lobes resemble a corona, while the external appendages resemble the corolla lobes
(Photo: Oscar Humberto Marín Gómez).
There are other species of section Collandra
that also have appendages in the corolla, for
example Columnea coronata. In C. coronata
there are five external appendages, laminar,
and set in whorls that resemble the corolla
limb, while the real corolla limb is in an
inner position resembling a corona (Figure
3). In fact, this corolla limb was interpreted
as a corona by Amaya-Márquez et al. (2004),
based on the continuity of the petal veins
in the appendages. However, additional
morphological observations of live C.
coronata flowers have shown that the external
appendages are located under the corolla limb,
at the sinuses of the corolla (Figures 3A, 3B).
The position of these appendages is equivalent
to those found in some species of section
Ortholoma, as is the case for Columnea
minor. Additionally, there are other species in
section Collandra for which the corolla lobes
are long, free, and filiform (C. nematoloba,
C. filifera, and C. incredibilis). In two of
these species, C. filifera and C. incredibilis
the corolla appendages are located in front of
each corolla lobe (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Columnea incredibilis L. P. Kvist & L. E. Skog. A. Lateral view of a flower showing
the calyx and the corolla with the corolla lobes free, long, and filiform (Photo: Oscar Humberto
Marín Gómez). B. Corolla limb, actinomorphic, the internal outgrowths at the base of each
corolla lobe, in a position in front of each corolla lobe (Photo: Oscar Humberto Marín Gómez).
C. Detail of the corolla limb showing the corolla lobes (Photo: Marisol Amaya Márquez).
D. Detail of the internal basal outgrowths at the base of each corolla lobe (Photo: Marisol
Amaya Márquez).
Here C. figueroae is not assigned to any
section of Columnea. It likely belongs to clade
C of the phylogeny obtained by Smith et al.
(2013) based on the shared morphological
traits: corolla shape, stripes along the corolla,
leaves oblanceolate, slightly falcate with a
dorsiventral arrangement similar to those
of section Collandra, and the stem and the
leaves often with a tawny hispid indumenta.
However, the species in Clade C such as C.
brenneri, have five external appendages, while
C. figueroae has four. Given the different
position, number, shape and texture of the
corolla appendages found within the species
of Columnea, a detailed study about these
structures is needed.
As far as we know, Columnea is a genus
strictly pollinated by hummingbirds (Morley
1971; Jones & Rich 1972; Wiehler 1983;
Amaya-Márquez 1996; Kastinger & Weber
2000). However, floral phenotypes with
external appendages on the corolla have not
been acknowledged within the syndrome of
ornithophily (e.g., Proctor et al. 1996).
Columnea figueroae, a new species of Gesneriaceae
The author thanks the National University of
Colombia for the opportunity to do research,
Juan Carlos Pinzón for the drawings, Jim
Smith for his discussion on the taxonomical
placement of the new species, Julio Betancur
for his collaboration and for allowing the
use of his picture shown in Fig. 2 in this
publication, Oscar Humberto Marín Gómez
collected flowers of C. coronata to conduct
the morphological study of the corolla and
he allows the use of his pictures shown in
Figs. 3C, 3D, 4A, & 4B; and finally to Larry
Skog, John L. Clark, Jim F. Smith, and
three anonymous reviewer for their help in
revising the manuscript, and their valuable
observations which helped to greatly improve
the manuscript. The NSF funded the project
“Flora of Las Orquídeas National Park” to
Paola Pedraza (DEB 1020623) provided
funding to do the collections.
A maya -M árquez , M. 1996. Sistemática
y polinización del género Columnea
(Gesneriaceae) en la Reserva Natural
la Planada (Nariño). Tesis de maestría,
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new species of Columnea (Gesneriaceae)
from “Cordillera Occidental” in the
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Recibido: 11/10/2013
Aceptado: 18/11/2014